Open since 1861 and a stone's throw from the Louvre, the quaint Britannique blends courteous English service with old-fashioned French flourishes near the banks of the Seine.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Though small and homey, this is not a design or boutique hotel, but it is very clean with its own stodgy charm.
Take the winding staircase, or amazingly small elevator, to snug but well-maintained rooms done up in a mix of attractive reproduction antiques and elegant bed linens and drapery, all favoring the color red. You'll only know it's the 21st century by the Wi-Fi service, coffee and tea facilities and flat-screen TVs. Standard doubles and single rooms are quite tiny, even by Paris standards.
Windows are double glazed, but to be sure of utmost quiet, and a lovely view, opt for a higher floor. Better yet, a high street-facing floor with a balcony!
Traditional bathrooms are very clean and modern, most with walk-in shower, some with bath with shower.
If a cozy British living room is your idea of heaven—and you wouldn't be alone—you'll love this well-lived in lobby, complete with wood paneling, a library cushy lounge chairs, throw pillows and a computer area for you to feel right at home.
A standard French buffet breakfast—pastry, bread, cheese and charcuterie, scrambled eggs, fruit juices, etc.—is served in the pleasant dining room.
If you'd feel like getting out for breakfast there are plenty of little cafés and bakeries about a minute away.
The hotel bar has a decent selection of wines, champagne and spirits which you can enjoy in the comfy lobby lounge.
Two minutes to the Châtelet metro stop, which is a huge hub, with five metro lines converging and two RERs lines, including RER B, which takes you direct line to both airports. Set on a fairly quiet street in a mostly commercial area very near the Seine, the hotel's location is its, to our minds, its greatest virtue. In view of the Théatre du Châtelet, in an area that mixes old Paris with contemporary shops and cafés, you'll have quite a lot of sightseeing and amenities right at your front door, so to speak, like Notre Dame, the Ile de la Cité, the Tour Saint-Jacques (with an extraordinary panoramic view if you can manage the 300 the steps), Palais Royal, Saint-Germain, the Marais, Louvre, Les Halles...you get the picture.
In an area short on authentic Parisian eateries and long on touristy cafés, it's a good idea to follow your nose to avoid the mediocre. One of our favorite authentic haunts just a few minutes walk away is La Robe et la Palais, where you'll dine on a satisfying menu of updated French classics—steak frites, veal tartare, roasted cod—with an emphasis on fresh seafood and an excellent wine list. La Regalade Saint-Honoré, a 5-10 minute walk away, is also a dependably good bistro run by one of Paris's notable chefs.
You can always pop into a nearby café for an okay pour, but if you want a chic cocktail lounge with some nightlife, walk the extra ten minutes to Sherry Butt, on the beautiful Rue Beautreillis (no. 20) in the Marais. You might also consider grabbing a stylish drink at George, the chic restaurant at the top of the Centre Pompidou, to enjoy one of Paris's best panoramic views. But whatever you do, don't eat there.
WHY WE LIKE IT
It's true that you can find much more stylish, less expensive hotels with the same kind of quaint atmosphere and top-notch service, even in superlative locations like this one. But the Britannique seems to inspire loyalty in its repeat guests, and that's something to pay attention to.